Otago-based offenders on community sentence train for
forklift-driving qualifications. Photo supplied.
Training for getting a job is changing the lives of
offenders, but work opportunities from Otago employers are
• Second chance to get it
Since January, 162 offenders in Otago received more than 2000
hours of training as part of their community sentences.
Training and qualifications under the Department of
Corrections' trade training programme include basic
carpentry, hospitality, food safety, building skills,
agriculture skills, forklift driving and barista courses.
Under the programme, probation officers could direct a fifth
of a community work sentences of more than 80 hours to be
spent on work and living skills training, while the remainder
of the sentences was for work supporting community
Otago Community Corrections training project leader Sherie
Lucke said research showed a strong correlation between
employment and reduced offending.
''By providing offenders with employable skills and helping
them stay away from crime, we are improving the lives of
individuals, their families and, ultimately, the whole
community,'' Mrs Lucke said.
Nearly 60% of community offenders were unemployed, many
having limited work experience or skills.
The programme gave them job skills and qualifications and
they developed good work habits.
''What we need now is for Otago employers to give these
people a chance.
''This is something we can do as a community to improve
public safety, and to break the cycle of offending.
''Employment has a ripple effect and is key to creating
lasting positive change in the lives of the individual, their
family and future generations.''
The Corrections Department was committed to cutting
reoffending by 25% by 2017.